Matt Spencer-Skeen reviews Thor: Ragnarok from the Cineworld Enfield: 4DX…
I’d heard a lot about 4DX with a couple of my local Cineworlds employing the technology but had never found the occasion to go. This week that all changed when I got to experience the first screening at the new Enfield 4DX screen, having been put together in just 8 short weeks with a team from South Korea where the technology originated.
For those who don’t know what 4DX is, I got to speak with Cineworld Regional Manager Mark Johnson who described it as “a totally immersive experience, using all 5 senses with touch, feel, sound, smell and taste all engaged throughout.” He walked me through some of the features, including rain, wind, moving seats, creating eight different smells and even the first snow machine in London for when the film calls for it. These are all to be integrated into the movie experience with synchronicity to what is on screen so you really feel like you are living the movie as much as watching it.
The screening was of Thor: Ragnarok and we got to experience a great variety of the features of 4DX (spoilers ahead of course) including the seats moving in time with spaceships, the jolts of Thor and Hulk’s fists meeting and my personal favourite moment was the smell generated when Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) melted a prisoner and the smell of burning rubber was used and made you really feel like the event was happening in the same room as you, rather than being projected onto a screen.
That said there is definitely something to be said for a “less is more” approach going forward. Some of the effects, strobe lighting in places, felt unnecessary considering the quality of the images on the screen. Also some of the movement felt a bit much at times and would distract rather than add whats on screen. The smells worked well but you could tell it was the first time they had been used with an underlying smell of plastic.
I think as the technology matures these are the kind of kinks that can be ironed out and are by no means an indictment of the experience, which was on the whole fun and interesting. I’ll definitely be up for giving this another run and I can see this becoming the new 3D experience as time goes on and customers looking for more bang for their buck decide they don’t want their films to look like they’re part of it but to feel like they really are a part of it.